Why I Wouldn’t Trade in My Small Town Life for the Celebrity Limelight
Imagine my surprise when I received a phone call from NPR a while back to participate in a radio show with my daughter as a result of a Lifetime Moms article I had written regarding the fact that my daughter is liberal and I am not and how we deal with our differences as a family. This small town girl was about to take the airwaves and was feeling pretty proud of herself; I had hit the “big time”!
As I sat with phone in hand chatting with a friend on Facebook and waiting for the interview to begin, I clicked on the show’s link and discovered that the award winning author and radio personality Buzz Bissinger and his son were the other two participants. Immediately I went from being confident and proud of what I was about to do to completely horrified, nervous and scared. My throat got dry, my hands got sweaty and my heart began to race. OMG! There is no way I am going to be able to compete with someone like this. What do I have to say that could ever be as important or compelling as this man? After all, who am I? I am just a small town girl living a relatively simple life sharing my thoughts on a mom blog. I messaged my friend and shared my anxieties. His response, “be yourself”. Sure I can do that; or can I?
Halfway through the interview I began to relax and found myself thankful for my simple life. While my daughter and I spoke of love and acceptance of one another’s differences the other two seemed to be ready to duke it out at the dinner table. I sounded more like a flower child of the 70’s with my love and acceptance banter. The interview came to an end and life returned to normal… or as normal as life can be.
Cut to a few weeks ago when I found myself reading a detailed article written by Mr. Bissinger confessing his addiction to shopping and his extravagant lifestyle that has resulted in his going to rehab. My initial reaction was one of anger because I felt deceived. As time passed it became evident that my anger was not really at him at all - it was at me. I had allowed myself to feel inadequate and less important during that radio show because of Mr. Bissinger’s celebrity. I fell into the trap thinking that fame and fortune outweighed middle class me. He had not done anything to me at all. I had done it all to myself.
Society tends to place celebrities on pedestals as if they are superhuman and untouchable. We strive to be like them and measure our success and happiness against what we see in the media. We believe that what these people say is true and as a result we stop thinking for ourselves. This brings to mind when Columbian model Natalia Paris made a claim that she believes eating chicken makes kids gay. Paris based her theory on reports that claimed chickens are being injected with female hormones to speed up their growth, “which means that these 7-, 8-, 9- and 10-year-old children [who are eating chicken] are having their feminine hormones accelerated … and are starting to become homosexual.” As ridiculous and unfounded as Paris’ claim is, it made the news and (some) people will actually believe it as true just because she said it. Somewhere out there, a parent (or parents) has eliminated chicken from their family’s diet because Natalia Paris, celebrity model made the claim. It won’t matter that there is absolutely no scientific proof to her claim because celebrity outweighs logic at times.
After reading the intense depiction of Bissinger’s addiction it is more than evident that celebrities face difficulties just like everyone else. Quite often it is more difficult to find happiness (in some cases) for those who live life in the limelight than those of us small town folk who find ourselves on the outside looking in. We need to remember, however, that celebrities are real people with real families, real lives and real problems. Focusing on the reality of life no matter who we are is essential to living a successful life. Comparing ourselves to what the media portrays as happiness and success will only create defeat and disappointment. It’s up to us to create happiness in our own way without comparing it to anyone else’s. Thank you Mr. Bissinger for teaching this small town girl a big lesson. I wish you well.